I was hospitalized from March 26th through April 28. I was in George Washington Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC, though April 14th; in Cleveland Clinic (Akron General) for the April 15/16 weekend, and on to Cleveland Clinic (Edwin Shaw rehab) on April 17. Laura stayed with Aunt Beth and Caroline for the rest of the holiday, then with a school mate for two weeks, then with Aunt Janice, living from her suitcase.
There is no universal hospital system in this country. For all the grand talk of the last thirty odd years, computers do not talk to each other. Nor do doctors. When my brother-in-law retired, my sister refused to move to southern Ohio for Tom to be closer to his family. Old truck drivers don’t get it; the doctors, the hospitals, the rehab is not out in the corn fields, nor is he. Jan and Tom still live in our doctor central, and amid all their friends.
When I had sorted through enough grey cells, and begun asking questions, I knew it was decision time. The DC doctors appeared once a day, and I realized they were talking to me about not leaving. They would transfer me to rehab in DC. They pretended to, or perhaps actually knew nothing about Edwin Shaw rehab clinics in Ohio. I’ve gone to these since my hip was replaced in 2003. I was there last the day before we left, and scheduled our return for Thursday, so I could keep my Friday appointment.
The fact I had responsibilities in Ohio made no nevermind to the DC docs. I have a granddaughter in school. I have a job. I have a home, with expenses to pay. I have family and friends. I have a cat. I was well enough to move on to rehab. The DC docs wouldn’t even look up “Edwin Shaw rehab.”
When the DC docs left the room, I called my clinic and had a nice chat. I left my therapist a message, and told them I would be there to start rehab on Monday. There were logistics, of course. New patients are admitted on Monday. I was in no shape to spend any time out of the hospital, so I arranged to show up at Akron General, be admitted through emergency on Friday, and on to Edwin Shaw on Monday.
The Edwin Shaw folks were a bit incredulous, but said if I actually arrived, of course I would be admitted. I called my daughter, told her I was being discharged Friday, and could she come down from Cleveland to drive me back from DC. When she arrived, she fell in with the plan, more or less. Like me, she found the reasons to leave far outweighed any reasons to stay. They are a post themselves.
The DC docs put together some unhappy discharge paperwork, I was rolled into Beth’s car, with Grandma Ruth riding shotgun in the back seat, and we were off. We arrived at Akron General’s emergency room, and politely took our place in line. I dozed, and completely gave up my plan to get Beth and Ruth on their way. I knew my name and knew I could raise my hand when it was called. But, they would not budge, and so be it.
Eventually I was asleep in a warm, soft bed, with new tags around my wrist and Beth and Ruth back on the road, north to Cleveland. I had home just down the road, the weekend off and the beginning of the next phase of recovery looking decent.